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Derek Black

IWM & Peter Jackson Restore Film Footage - They Shall Not Grow Old

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simond9x
1 hour ago, depaor01 said:

Saw it in the cinema. Very impressive. Maybe it was just me, but I thought it was describing events in chronological order so I was seeing Brodie and M16 helmets from the beginning and screaming inside. 

Otherwise very thought provoking and the first-hand accounts were riveting.

Dave

 

I don't think it was intended to be chronological. Other than the specific events of the outbreak of war and the Armistice, I think it portrayed 'generic' experiences of the soldiers a) leaving for war, be it in 1914, 15, 16, etc; b) in the trenches; c) fighting, etc. That was my take anyway.

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Interested
  • Took the Missus to see the screening at the IWM, very moving, but she was a bit disconcerted by the colour, so used to seeing footage in B & White she said the colour almost made it look like actors. 

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depaor01
3 hours ago, simond9x said:

 

I don't think it was intended to be chronological. Other than the specific events of the outbreak of war and the Armistice, I think it portrayed 'generic' experiences of the soldiers a) leaving for war, be it in 1914, 15, 16, etc; b) in the trenches; c) fighting, etc. That was my take anyway.

It did dawn on me eventually that it wasn't chronological and I calmed down then!

 

Dave

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beth wales

I hope the BBC will screen it today,or put it on i-player as I'm housebound presently..I think Peter Jackson and the team restoring these old films has done a remarkable job.It will be an emotional experience for me.I have seen an old photo of my Grandad and i just know I'll be scanning the newly slowed-down films for his face. So unlikely to find it,but hey,,,,He and his brother were killed within months of each other and within a few miles of each other at 3rd battle Ypres.Only my Dad's uncle has a grave.They never found Dad's father.His name is carved at Tyne Cot.My Grandad on Mams side was in WW2 too, but like so many others,wouldn't talk of it on his safe return.I would think this film will be sobering viewing for many young people,

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Mick D

It is on today, BBC2 9.30 pm .

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Captain RHW
On 10/11/2018 at 17:10, Keerthi K. Green said:

Its  kindly  request  and much  thankful  if  you  could  disclose  is your newly published  book  have  any  names  of  CPRC  Members (1).  Thomas  Lansaleen  Green  ( 2).  Hernet  Lansaleen  Green   who  served  in  Great  War in 1914-1917 ? 

(1) is my Grand Father,  (2) is my Grand Uncle.

Thank  you, Best  Regards, 

Keerthi K Green

 

Hi Keerthi, no they’re not in my book. Were they (to your knowledge) members of the Savage Club? 

15 hours ago, Mick D said:

It is on today, BBC2 9.30 pm .

Cheers Mick, I gather it’s available for a week as well 

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WhiteStarLine

Just saw it in London today.  Very moving and a full house.  Not a murmur from anyone and no eating of popcorn or mobile phone texting while it played.  This may be the ultimate form of contemporary respect ...

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Knotty

Just watched this on BBC2 and I must say I was very impressed. Thank goodness I recorded it so I can watch it again.

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seaJane
On 10/11/2018 at 17:10, Keerthi K. Green said:

Its  kindly  request  and much  thankful  if  you  could  disclose  is your newly published  book  have  any  names  of  CPRC  Members (1).  Thomas  Lansaleen  Green  ( 2).  Hernet  Lansaleen  Green   who  served  in  Great  War in 1914-1917 ? 

(1) is my Grand Father,  (2) is my Grand Uncle.

Thank  you, Best  Regards, 

Keerthi K Green

 

Could one of them be Herbert Thomas Chorley Lancelyn Green, as in the upper right of the London Gazette page below?

IMG_20181112_005639.jpg

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Garwood

Very good I thought,really impressed by the colourisation .

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PaddyO

I watched the Beeb2 screening last night. I was particularly impressed by the footage of our artillery in action. The colour restoration differed in quality no doubt due to the quality of the image 'underneath' so that some was breathtaking whereas at other times it did look rather painted on. Gosh how young it made the men look. I didn't however enjoy the pacing of the film. This was especially true of the first section but generally all through to my ears i felt the veterans voices remembering on the soundtrack was too 'busy' and one quickly cut into another so you had little time to digest the impact of what they were saying (compare this to the pace of the recent Last Tommies 3 part documentary).  This also at times 'intruded' I felt on the footage being shown and I wanted in places for the soundtrack veterans to pause for a while so I could catch the voices of the men in the footage which had been lipread and dubbed in plus the excellent sound effects recreations.  I do hope it's released on DVD so I can take my time over repeated viewings etc. 

Bravo Peter Jackson and all involved; a worthy tribute, thank you.

Edited by PaddyO

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Gunboat

I saw this at the cinema yesterday and then watched again on BBC2 last night.

 

I thought it it was excellent some of the remastering and colourisation was less successful than others but it was in places brilliantly done. Some of the footage I had seen before but seeing at normal speed made me realise how much I had missed in the footage before.

 

 

 

 

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jonbem
6 hours ago, PaddyO said:

I wanted in places for the soundtrack veterans to pause for a while so I could catch the voices of the men in the footage

Agree with you on that point, so much to take in.

Another viewing will be needed, good job i recorded it.

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voltaire60

An excellent piece of work-which if, as rumours suggest, will be going out on DVD  and should set a standard for visual representations of the war that will become the norm as much as Martin Middlebrook's book "First Day" did for the nature of the war and the progress of oral history. The use of black and white for the beginning and end -with the colour reserved for the scenes in France was a particularly effective directorial touch-to emphasis the vivid remembrances of the war by the veterans who spoke

    The use of colourisation I support-  the director's aim was obviously both to give us the visual experience in a more vivid form as well as the narrative to go with it. And, yes, the colourisation highlighted new aspects of watching familiar black and white stock. Little things- that despite the devastation of the front line zone, much of the time green fields from untouched countryside would be visible in the distance-or at least so in the film stock shown, taken,I think, from Battle of the Somme. And, of course, colouristaion reminds us that it was summer-  the well-known footage of the men of the Lancashire Fusiliers in the Sunken Lane on the Somme comes across well when the camouflage aspect of all the summertime greenery begins to show.  And small things-  of the Sunken Lane men, the colourisation seemed to highlight more the looks of stress and apprehension on their faces. Or that of wounded men returning-with a sergeant with a shaking hand. The colourisation of that and the look of tiredness and being "spent" really brought home the observations made by Charles Wilson (Lord Moran) about a man's inherent stock of courage being spent.  And just how many bad teeth there were!!

    One small thing that may influence future views of the war-  the narrative was a mixture of recorded voices held by IWM-some easily recognizable from the "Great War" series of the Sixties. But the men speaking then had the voices of the old men that they were- and I suspect that Peter Jackson used older actors when voicing some of the written narrative voiced in to the film. I cannot see any other way he could have done it- the authentic voices are largely those of men remembering quite a few decades on. But-perhaps-it would make the war comes across as that of old men. However, the Edwardian English comes across well whether original or voiced-much more so than the estuarine  English of today.  And I didn't notice a single "Gor Blimey" in the whole thing!

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Knotty

Well put V60, I found it was the minutiae of some of the scenes that made it even more impressive, particularly as Jackson had reduced the footage to “ normal” speed.

I really enjoyed the scene where German prisoners were being brought in and a rather young Tommy “accidentally” shoulder barged one, followed by a shove and some verbal exchange, almost a school playground scenario before the shout of “fight,fight”  goes up. 

 

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Ludovica

Watched it on i-Player last night. Very impressive, although the most gruesome bits were mercifully much de-saturated, though I felt that was perhaps a bit of a cop-out having gone to all that trouble. . I was wincing more at the (lack of) dentistry than the gore. The soldiers became more real and relatable I thought. I didn't feel I was watching actors at any point

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simond9x

A reminder that there's a documentary on the making of the film BBC 4 at 7.30 tonight

 

Just to add  my thoughts to what's already been said by others (particularly well by V60). I really feel that this was so well done and really takes one to the fields of France (only without the dangers and the smells). I saw it in 3D at the cinema a few weeks ago and that was stunning - you felt as though you were right there in some scenes. Last night in 2D was almost as good - I particularly like the moment it transitions from B/W to widescreen colour. As already noted, it brings out a lot of the detail that one misses in the original B/W footage, especially for me stuff that was happening in the background. It's not perfect..... some of the transitions are a little clunky (presumably because of the changes in frames/second) and I thought the use of poppies on every available patch of green was a little overdone. But all in all, a superb achievement.

 

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ss002d6252
16 minutes ago, Ludovica said:

Watched it on i-Player last night. Very impressive, although the most gruesome bits were mercifully much de-saturated, though I felt that was perhaps a bit of a cop-out having gone to all that trouble. . I was wincing more at the (lack of) dentistry than the gore. The soldiers became more real and relatable I thought. I didn't feel I was watching actors at any point

 I noted the teeth too.

 

Craig

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Gunga Din

It was a fascinating and impressive piece of film. The technological enhancements were beautifully done. The digital enhancement, particularly the 'smoothing' of ssthe jerky black-and -white film  made the film footage significantly more accessible to a modern generation. For this aspect alone it was a triumph. 

 

I am not sure if it is really 'representative' of the Great War. I was mostly struck by the homogeneity of the scores of views. It seemed unlikely.  Highly unlikely. 

 

For me, the credits were the most interesting part - there were many scores of men whose words formed the vocal overlay and these (names and units) were completely different from the sources of film. This is important as it means we are simultaneously absorbing two disparate sources and (perhaps subconsciously) splicing the two. That is clearly the intention of the film-makers.

 

The film was severely limited by four factors:

 

1. The available film footage .

2. The available audio footage

3. The historical compatibility of 1. and 2. above.

4.  Editorial decisions of the available material. 

 

Through some rather astute editing, we were sucked into believing that the voices and the visual imagery are congruent. To be clear - they are not. At this point we need to start some analysis. 

 

Film footage of, say 1916, spliced with comments made in the 1950s about completely different circumstances (units and people) can send different messages. The format followed a roughly audio-chronological format; the films is clearly chronologically out of sequence and we must conclude that the available film is back-fitted to match the editorial choices of a chronological narrative supported with the available voice overlay. This constrains the narrative agenda.  What was most remarkable was the dearth of dissenting voices. Most (all?) of the voice-overs were largely passively accepting of their lot and the mild excitement of War compared to their dreary civilian lives. Most seemed stunned and disappointed by the armistice. Where were the dissenting voices of the poets who blighted our education since the 1980s?

 

I suspect the reason behind this is that people act differently when being (knowingly) filmed. This has to be a factor  - particularly in the rear areas where risk to life is limited - and one wonders to what extent these selected/edited film clips and selected/edited voice overs can be regarded as 'representative' of men who served during the war. I would argue that nothing is universally representative as the war was an amalgam of millions of individual stories. Therein lies the problem; it is difficult, arguably impossible to condense the Great War into an hour (or incidentally a single book, or even the OH).... There were no references to the unpalatable truths of mad panic, lines breaking, fear, cowardice, shot at dawn, the bitterness of the men who left Gallipoli, etc and the other ghastliness of total war. While I don't doubt the sincerity of the recorded voices, one needs to acknowledge the idea that not everyone thought the same. For me the views were glaringly too homogeneous and I suspect there was an underlying (possibly subconscious) agenda. It wouldn't be the first time from this Director.

 

That aside, a truly remarkable piece of film making. I have no doubt it will become an important reference point that shapes future perceptions. It would have been better as a 26 part series similar to the World at War (1973-1976) covering some of the less palatable aspects and giving a more balanced view. I think it would have been a rather good use of the UK Govt's Great War commemoration budget.

 

GD

Edited by Gunga Din

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14276265
57 minutes ago, Gunga Din said:

 

It would have been better as a 26 part series similar to the World at War (1973-1976) covering some of the less palatable aspects and giving a more balanced view.

 

 

 

Already done in 1964 - the 26 part series "The Great War", narrated by Michael Redgrave; why so many of the interviewed "voices" used by Jackson exist in the IWM archive.

 

 

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Ron Clifton

I also saw it for the first time on BBC2 last night and was very impressed (as I had expected to be, given by the positive critical reaction here and elsewhere).

 

Like Dave, I noticed the prevalence of Brodie helmets at the beginning, which made me realise that it was not attempting to tell the story in chronological order. I have no problem with that.

 

The depiction of soldiers on both sides as fairly decent human beings, being forced to use brutal methods, was probably a good thing, in that it is a constructive lesson to our younger people that there should no longer be races who consider themselves "hereditary enemies" and who treat their foes as in some way inferior human beings. Both sides on the Western Front treated their own wounded, and their enemies' wounded, humanely and in a manner in which they would hope to be treated if the positions were reversed. As regards the treatment of British POWs, my impression is that other ranks were not treated very well, being put to work in mines and other forms of work which were strictly out of the scope of the Geneva Convention. In WW2 the Wehrmacht treated prisoners rather better, but the SS treated prisoners worse, and of course the Japanese treated prisoners very badly indeed.

 

Although I have not seen a definite confirmation, I understand that David Olusoga has withdrawn his earlier comment that "the German Army was not defeated in the field". The other recent BBC2 programme, on the Armistice, made it pretty clear that the Germans were forced to accept draconian terms, and with as little delay as possible. As the late John Terraine once commented: "It was not a British delegation which crossed the front line to negotiate an Armistice, and there was no strip of territory in either Britain or France which was subject to German occupation." He may also have added that the British Fleet was not surrendered into internment at Kiel or Wilhelmshaven.

 

The lasting impression which Peter Jackson's work will leave will almost certainly come from circulation of the DVD of the film, and its intelligent use by history teachers in our schools.

 

Ron

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Gunga Din
11 minutes ago, 14276265 said:

 

Already done in 1964 - the 26 part series "The Great War", narrated by Michael Redgrave; why so many of the interviewed "voices" used by Jackson exist in the IWM archive.

 

 

 

Not with the current archive, which is my point. My error for not being clear. 

 

GD

 

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simond9x
2 minutes ago, Ron Clifton said:

Both sides on the Western Front treated their own wounded, and their enemies' wounded, humanely and in a manner in which they would hope to be treated if the positions were reversed. As regards the treatment of British POWs, my impression is that other ranks were not treated very well, being put to work in mines and other forms of work which were strictly out of the scope of the Geneva Convention.

My wife's grandfather was with 2/Wiltshires and was wounded at First Ypres on 24th October 1914. A bullet entered his knee and exited his foot. He was tended by the Germans for about 4 months, in several hospitals, who used experimental surgery to save his leg. He always maintained that, had he been sent down the line to a British hospital, his leg would have been removed immediately (his opinion). He was always very grateful to them and was treated reasonably well in several different POW camps.

 

Anyway, back on subject....... I've just watched it again with headphones on and found that, as it transition from B/W to colour, it also transitions from mono to glorious stereo with all the sound effects and the soldiers' banter being spread across the sound. It really is very impressive.

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jonbem

Has anyone seen the viewing figures yet? I think a demographic breakdown, especially of the age of viewers, will be interesting. I presume there will be additional numbers from iPlayer in time to come.

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